It had to happen sometime. Barcelona's unstoppable run of results came to an end today as Athletico Bilbao's "park the bus" tactics were enough to get a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou.
Even after Lionel Messi and David Villa came into the match during the second half, Barcelona were unable to find the back of Athletico Bilbao's net. Bilbao had 10 men behind the ball for the entire match and their perfect defensive organization proved too much for Barcelona today. By the time Lionel Messi came into the match, the defense was so compact that the Argentine genius failed to have any significant impact.
As usual, Barcelona monopolized possession, but this time there was no end product. Credit to Bilbao's excellent defense. There is no reason to be excessively worried, however: no team can win every match and it's better to draw here than in league matches. Barcelona will have the second leg at San Mamés to rectify the score.
Despite this result, the first part of the 2010/2011 season was brilliant for the blaugrana outfit: Barcelona currently lead La Liga, have good prospects of advancing in the Copa del Rey and are ensured smooth sailing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
2011 promises to be another glorious year for Barcelona!